Library

Happy New Year!

I'm finally catching my breath after a couple of last-minute business trips in December, and then the hustle and bustle of the holidays. The kids are with my parents for the week, so Bill and I have had several glorious days to ourselves. I had grand plans to accomplish around The Manor, but ended up mostly watching TV, taking naps, and sewing. It has been glorious.

I do have a few small updates to share in the furniture department. So let's get started.

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New Sewing Room, New Footstools, New Television

We got two new footstools for my sewing room. 

Sidenote: the sunroom in the photo used to be my office. Over the Christmas holiday we decided to take apart my office and reconstitute it as my sewing room. I wasn't using my office at all, and we wanted a second guest room upstairs. So we moved all of my sewing and craft stuff into the much-smaller sunroom and now it is a cozy nook that I love to spend time in. My only gripe is that the loveseat is a bit too short for a comfortable nap. (Not that being slightly uncomfortable stops me.)

We also got another internet booster (bringing our tally up to approximately nine thousand) so that I can stream Netflix on the new TV. With the baseboard heater on, the room is warm and toasty, with unlimited streaming movies and access to a fabric store's worth of patterns and cloth. I might never leave.

New Game Table, with Room for Eight

During one of the days the kids were gone, Bill and I took a drive around Southern Virginia to look at some of the antique stores in neighboring towns. Most of them were a huge bust (as I have no interest in creepy old dolls or in depression-era glass), but on the last stop we found a fabulous table.

We've been looking for some additional small furniture pieces to fill out the library/parlor, and this was the perfect ticket. Folded up, it looks like a small side table. With the three leaves in place, it easily fits 8 people. In fact, it's significantly bigger than our current dining room table -- which means that we'll likely pull it out for dinner parties in the near future, at least until we upgrade the dining room pieces.

(Also note: always ask if there is any flexibility on the price for estate furniture. They offered a 10% discount and I told them we'd take it for $400 (a 20% discount) and they made a quick call to the owner, who agreed to our offer.)

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New Cabinet Looking for a Home

While spending our New Years Eve partying like rock stars (read: watching movies) we happened across a charming cabinet on Craigslist. A few email exchanges and a turn of the calendar page, and it was ours! (Weirdly, it came from a house about 200 yards away from us, right around the corner. I think I might have made a new friend in the bargain!)

It's relatively shallow, but perfect for storing linens. We're still debating it's final location (hence it sitting in the middle of our second floor landing, with the obligatory cat for protection), but I think we've narrowed it down to either the new guest bedroom or directly outside the master bedroom. 

That's it for us for now. We continue to stalk Craigslist each day, looking for additional pieces to fill The Manor. And tomorrow we're going with another couple to Black Dog Salvage, a much-anticipated trip! Keep your fingers crossed that we find a dresser for a 4-year old with a penchant for markers on walls.

Turn of season

I just got back from two weeks of business travel and am getting myself reacquainted with the state of The Manor. Here's what's going on:

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We got a new piano! It's an antique inlay baby grand that we found at an estate sale two houses down from us. We had a professional come to evaluate it for quality and price, and they confirmed it was a good deal. Right now, it's really out of tune, but we'll fix that once the piano has had another week to acclimate to the space. 

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Emmie gives her official approval to the new dresser in the master bedroom. The drawers are still empty while I make a final decision about drawer liners, but I've now lived so long without a dresser that I'm not feeling any rush. For now. 

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She's also taken to sitting on the second floor bannister,  which gives me hives. She naps there, she rubs her face against the wood, she chases her tail between the spindles,  and she launches attacks on the poor dogs from her perch. It can only end in disaster, but I can't figure out how to curb this new obsession without just throwing her down 20 feet to teach her a lesson.

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We had a very successful yard sale this morning, getting rid of a bunch of things (and donating the rest). It was a gorgeous day, and Bill took full advantage of the cooler weather to continue his work on the backyard. 

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We had $900 worth of dirt brought into the stable area, so that we can grow some grass for the chickens. Can you believe that dirt costs $900? Me neither. Let's just say that was a decision I was not involved in.

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The gigantic pile of brush continues to grow. Bill has grand plans to rent a chipper and turn all of this debris into mulch for the front trees, but so far it's just an unsightly mess. 

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If you wonder where all the brush came from, you're looking at the side yard where the old tennis court fence used to be. When we moved in, it was covered in trees, bushes, ivy, and brush. Not so much any more. Bill loves the mountain views (squint really hard and look for the tiny spots of mountain in the distance) but all I see are the tract homes across the street. Bill has promised me that a privacy fence will eventually go back up that hides the adjacent homes. I hope so. Right now we're definitely in that "it gets worse before it gets better." 

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And while the long shadows make the back yard look worthy of a manor house, we're also dealing with some pricy projects to the exterior of the house. Like $10,000 pricy. And it needs to be done before the winter arrives. Sigh. Bill might need to pick up a couple of shifts at the 7-11.

Piece by Piece

The sofa arrived yesterday and we are thrilled. Well, Bill and I are thrilled. The children and pets are now banished from the parlor, so they aren't super keen on these developments. 

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While the pets pace anxiously in the hall, the parlor now has a hint of what it will become. 

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The photo above was run through a filter to counteract the late-afternoon sun, so the sofa looks a bit dirty. But in real life the sofa is a light wheat color in a slightly nubby linen. The cushions are very firm, which I like (and hope that means it won't get sloppy for years to come). 

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In this room is also an old chair that I got for $17 at an online auction. It's a bit wobbly, but I think it will be awesome once I get it repaired and recovered. I haven't decided on the fabric yet--traditional or modern? 

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We also picked up a small side table at an antique store last weekend. We were originally there to check out a dresser for our little girl, but the dresser was ugly. Thank goodness we didn't leave empty-handed--it was a 90-minute drive each way. 

The table is covered in leather, with three good-sized drawers. It's in good shape--we won't have to do anything other than treat the leather with a little TLC.   

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The room is still in a "bare bones" state, but I would be lying if I said I haven't gone in multiple times to sit and enjoy the piece and quiet.  

We're done with this room for now. Next on the list are a few small items for our bedroom. And, of course, the guest room continues to glare menacingly from the first floor. We're still in disagreement about what needs to be done there. I'm voting for paint and furniture, while Bill is lobbying for changing the floors and maybe moving a wall. 

Anyone want to guess who will win out? 

The Library-Parlor-Music Room

Bill and I have quite different ideas of what "good interior decorating" looks like. He goes for 5-piece matching mission-style bedroom sets and overstuffed beige sofas with fringed cushions. I go for anything in the IKEA catalog. 

How we ended up in a 1907 neo-classical manor is anyone's guess.

Moving into this new house has left us with a bunch of empty rooms to fill. Right now the second parlor is one such area -- it's totally bare of furniture. It's also large, with a gorgeous fireplace, high ceilings, and big bright windows on two sides. 

We've been debating about what to do with this room since before we moved in. We've discussed:

  • Turning it into my office. (Nixed that idea when I got separate office space.)
  • Turning it into Bill's office. (Nixed that idea when I realized it would just be covered in papers, with Bill working on his laptop in whatever room was most temperate.)
  • Turning it into a separate guest space -- either as a living area connected with the guest bedroom, or as a separate bedroom of its own. (Nixed that idea because we wanted to keep it open to the family, at least most of the time.)

In the end, we're leaning towards turning it into a more formal parlor cum library cum music room. The idea is to have a grown-up room where there is no evidence of pets or children, so that there is always a tidy and pet-hair free spot to entertain guests. We'll keep the smaller living room across the hall for more casual living.

Eventually, we'll line the room with built-in bookshelves that run all the way to the ceiling, thus necessitating a book ladder (at which time I can die a happy and fulfilled person). We'll also put a piano in one corner, a gas insert for the fireplace to keep us toasty in the colder months, and some comfortable-yet-sophisticated furniture scattered about to impress our guests.

Sound grand, doesn't it?

While the plan will have to wait a while (likely a LONG while) to come to fruition, we took the first step in making the dream a reality by purchasing a new sofa. 

We got it from Joss & Main (now sold out) and can't wait to see it in person. It will be delivered sometime in the second half of the month, so in the meantime we can only look at the photo online and dream of an armchair to go with it.